Our company just went through some tough times. We ran out of funds, laid off 90% of staff, and lost a large portion of market share to new competitors. We feel that we have bad public sentiment amongst key stakeholders and we'd like to turn that around. We just received more funding, and our plans include re-branding and re-launching the app, doing a little bit of damage control, and fully pivoting our business model. We are looking for guidance into how to go about doing this in a strategic and planned out manner. Also, we are looking for an expert in the field who we could work with.
First of all I want to give you a lot of credit for what you are doing. One of the great things about being a business owner is that the successes are truly your own, but the downside is that the failures are too. Going through the tough times can be emotionally and physically exhausting.
To get started with, well, getting started, you need to first deal with the past crud and work to rebuild the business' reputation and trust. Too often businesses attempt to start fresh under a new identity without addressing the baggage and ultimately they are not successful because the air has not been cleared. Think about any major company that has had a PR nightmare whether it be tainted food, tampered packaging or a mechanical error. What do they do? They publicly admit they messed up and expressed their plan to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Now for you, I am not saying to alert the media. Simply start with your stakeholders. Reach out to those you feel you have wronged. Invite them to coffee or lunch, talk through the problems and get their input as to what and how you can improve during this next phase. As you build up trust, your network expands organically, and as you clear that air, those former foes now feel that they are playing a part in your new endeavor. Once you start to rebuild that reputation the re-branding and re-launching is easy.
Everyone makes mistakes. It is how they are dealt with that makes the lasting impression, and frankly, people in business want to help others with their business.